3 stars for eclectic eats at Ft Lauderdale's Tundra Las Olas
A mini ice rink and fake snow brought a taste of winter to Las Olas this year, but at Tundra, the chill factor is real. The restaurant uses 10,000 pounds of ice a week for the gleaming sculptures and other arctic accents crafted by co-owners David Berman, a former Broward Convention Center executive chef, and Alex Podolny, a native of Ukraine.
The restaurant could be dismissed as gimmicky — until you taste the food. The eclectic menu by chef Bryan Lamblin (Mar-a-Lago) includes dishes like stuffed prawn with red curried crab and coconut chile relish and center-cut beef tenderloin with jalapeño béarnaise sauce. The 12-course Tundra Tour tasting menu ($59.95) lets you sample broadly.
Ambience: You don’t have to bundle up to dine at Tundra, in the former Mancini’s space. The whimsical dining-room decor is cozy yet thematic with chandeliers shaped like icicles and artsy mirrors, and an 80-seat patio glows with icy blue lighting.
- Delightful apple martini cocktails kept cold without dilution by a 3-inch “chilling sphere”
- Elegant items are served on teardrop-shaped ice platters that arrive in a dramatic swirl of dry ice
- A bracingly fresh ceviche of yellowtail snapper, scallops and rock shrimp with a kicky white peach-balsamic sauce spiked with serrano chile and coriander
- Tundra shellfish on ice — snow crab claws, white prawns and Willapa Bay, Wash., oysters (choices vary) served with a spicy cocktail sauce and lemon wedges
- Ahi tartare with wasabi caviar
- Delicious artichoke heart and Boursin cheese fritters coated in Parmesan and panko - crunchy on the outside, soft inside and not at all greasy
- Impressive snapper fennel soup with a garnish of blackened rock shrimp
- Rich lobster bisque with chopped lobster meat flambéed in cognac and finished with sherry and cream
- Lobster and crab Monte Cristo -a grilled brioche sandwich stuffed with chopped lobster and crab with spinach (it’s not dipped in egg, like traditional versions), then served with white truffle fries
- Tender, albeit heavy, Kobe meatballs with pasta in a mushroom sauce
- Honey-soy salmon with bok choy.
- Macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi sautéed in banana oil
- Fennel-dusted sea scallops
- A scrumptious $11 dessert “tour”
- Flambéed chocolate cheese flan
- Decadent Swiss chocolate brownie with crème anglais
- Fruit strudel with mangoes, papayas, peaches, apples, currants and cranberries in puff pastry
- Luscious, lightly battered fried strawberries rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with a white chocolate anglais